Kevin Feige is 100% lying about Marvel and China.
When Marvel Studios cast actress Tilda Swinton (a white woman) as The Ancient One (a historically Asian male character) in 2016’s Doctor Strange, the studio immediately came under fire. At the time, director Scott Derrickson attempted to apologize and explain the casting choice away, telling The Daily Beast, “I really felt like I was going to be contributing to a bad stereotype,” elaborating that he initially made the choice to make the character female, but when he envisioned her played by an Asian woman she “was a straight-up Dragon Lady.” The decision still stands out as a sore thumb among the MCU five years later. And now, the head of Marvel Studios is officially acknowledging that things could have been handled better.
“We thought we were being so smart, and so cutting-edge,” Kevin Feige told Men’s Health in a new cover story on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu.“We’re not going to do the cliché of the wizened, old, wise Asian man. But it was a wake-up call to say, ‘Well, wait a minute, is there any other way to figure it out? Is there any other way to both not fall into the cliché and cast an Asian actor?’ And the answer to that, of course, is yes.”
Feige acknowledges that previoous wrong, while still believing there’s a clear path toward better future that prioritizes more respectful on-screen adaptations and representation. In the story, he reveals that the story of Shang-Chi comes from a binder that’s existed since Marvel Studios’ inception filled with “great characters who could make great movies regardless of how famous they were.” And now that a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is basically equivalent to a Disney-owned branch of the U.S. Mint, those are chances the studio is now more comfortable taking.